What draws students from throughout the US to a small community college surrounded by cornfields and timber? If you’re an ag student or horse enthusiast, that would be the outstanding programs offered at Black Hawk East Community College. With over 60 years history, the campus began with four buildings, still a part of the campus.
Today the campus includes 102 acres, befitting for the largest Agriculture transfer program in the state of Illinois. A beautiful Agriculture Center includes nearly 70 stalls, an indoor 250×100 foot arena, classrooms and offices that serve agriculture students. An active ag alumni association stands in support of current students.
With a history spanning decades of top wins on the collegiate level judging contests there literally hundreds of trophies won by intercollegiate judging teams in horses, livestock and crops, as well as an active horse show team.
There is an on campus dorm as well as housing in the surrounding area. Fully furnished apartments that include a full kitchen, satellite television and wireless internet are available for full time students. Laundry and mail services as well as food service and vending machines are also on campus. There is also a fitness center, library and computer center, with on campus public safety officers. Telephone service is not included in apartment rents, which is set up for four students or two students.
Athletic competitions are also available including volleyball, basketball and track. There are several active clubs on campus – as would be expected at a heavily agriculture school the AgriBusiness Club and Auto/Ag Mechanic clubs are active. However there are also groups such as Christians on Campus, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Psi Beta (Psychology Honor society), Science Club and Horticulture club just a few of the activities on campus.
The campus sits a few miles south of Kewanee Illinois. On the edge of town is a Farm King store, convenient for the agricultural students, as well as Walmart, Menards Hardware store and a dollar store. There are also many small stores and businesses in town.
Restaurants include well known fast food – Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King and others as well as more local places. LaGondola’s sits along the four- lane across from Wethersfield High School and nearby is Happy Joes, a pizza place with a long history in town. The latter, when located downtown, was an early haunt for country singer Suzy Boggus.
The best course of action if you’re interested in a place in the BHE program is applying during your senior year. There’s no application fee so you are not obligated to go, but this does get your foot in the door. There are several scholarships you can apply for including local and state scholarships as well as those at a national level. Additionally there are several scholarships available for East campus students and some specific to the agriculture department.
Contact the school to see about ACT scores getting you into classes or about the COMPASS test in late spring of your senior year. Lastly come visit the campus. It’s a beautiful facility that would be more expected in a university setting. You can meet with an advisor and register and pay for classes by the time you graduate or shortly after, insuring an almost painless transition to college life.
Those with horses that are attending the ag program also need to consider a stall for their equine partner. There is some trailer parking available, a factor if you plan on participating in the show team.
The small town surrounding area means there is not a lot of things to do – although there is a movie theater, and there are events happening on campus, it is not like more urban college campuses. Those coming from larger cities may want to stock up on reading material, DVDs or other entertainment.
Although agriculture is “center stage” on the East campus there is also a number of other educational options including arts, mechanics, nursing and law enforcement just a few. An auto mechanics program has a several bay shop to get hands on experience as well as classroom lessons.
For many reasons Black Hawk East Community College is an outstanding choice. With about 800 students it doesn’t have the large class sizes of larger schools, yet has an outstanding reputation and is part of the community. With over $80,000 in scholarships, capacity for 84 students on site and an active student activity schedule it’s a great time to check them out.